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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

Well, the choices are clear for Democrats in Pennsylvania and Indiana. The so-called superdelegate primary is a lot murkier. Superdelegates could be the decisive force in the Obama/Clinton race.

In the latest in NPR's series of superdelegate profiles, we'll spotlight Ivan Holmes. He's the Democratic Party chair in Oklahoma.

Scott Gurian reports from member station KGOU in Norman, Oklahoma.

SCOTT GURIAN: Just down the road from the Oklahoma capital, Ivan Holmes sits in his office in the state Democratic Party headquarters. He's dressed informally in gray corduroy pants and a button-down sports shirt, and he seems more like a grandfather than head of a political party.

His desk is a scene of organized chaos. Neat stacks of paper on nearly every inch of free space and papers taped on all the walls. Off to one side, there's a stuffed donkey from the animated Disney film "Shrek."

Mr. IVAN HOLMES (Superdelegate): In this job you need all the stress relievers you can get and I guess that donkey is one of them.

GURIAN: Holmes has lots of stress to relieve. Since taking the job nine months ago he's worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, refusing his salary so as to help the party get out of debt. For Holmes, national politics often takes a back seat.

Mr. HOLMES: My priorities are to somehow get the Democrats back in control of the Oklahoma House and Senate. That's the things that affects our lives. It affects our education, it affects our healthcare, it affects things that are more important to me than who's president.

GURIAN: So as a superdelegate, Holmes says, he's trying to decide which Democratic contender would be best for his local candidates. Initially he thought John Edwards was the best person for the job. But now that Edwards has dropped out of the race, Holmes is weighing Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton.

Mr. HOLMES: Obama will bring young people into the party that we haven't had before; Hillary will bring in independent and women votes. On the other hand, polls have shown that neither one of them can carry Oklahoma.

GURIAN: Ivan Holmes says he'll do some polling to determine which candidate would come closest to Republican John McCain, but he's leaning towards Senator Clinton, who won Oklahoma on Super Tuesday. Either way, Holmes says he'll probably hold off until the very last minute before officially making up his mind.

Mr. HOLMES: The longer you wait - as long as neither one of them gets a majority - the more influence you're going to have with what those people can do for the party.

GURIAN: Holmes shares that view with a lot of superdelegates, especially in Oklahoma, where seven of the other nine superdelegates are also uncommitted.

For NPR News, I'm Scott Gurian in Norman, Oklahoma.

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